December 3, 2017 at 2:07 am #69582
Hello! I’m new here as I don’t know where to start. I am 40 years old and have three kids, ages 21, 18 & 15. I have been diagnosed with ADD, and I know as a child I was surely ADHD. I am currently on Methylphenidate and Wellbutrin and seem to be doing well on those meds. However, as I get older and my kids ADD/ADHD challenges me I seem to become a worse mom by the day. All my kids have ADD/ADHD. My 21yo son was never diagnosed but I know he is has classic ADHD symptoms. I didn’t realize it at the time and he suffered so badly in school. He ended up dropping out and getting his diploma through online schooling. He is now getting ready to finish up Job Corp training and is doing better. I’ve known my youngest son, 15yo has always been ADHD as far back as I can recall. I can look back now and see it prior to him beginning school. He has been diagnosed with ADHD and epilepsy. I am currently waiting results of school testing for any learning difficulties/disabilities. Of course I struggle with the nonstop fight with his dad and stepmom regarding school struggles, meds, that I make excuses for him, etc. My daughter has been lost in all of this. She used to be a star student with amazing grades, until a couple years ago. She is now a HS Senior and is likely to not graduate if something doesn’t turn around for her. She has been diagnosed with ADD and anxiety but only medicated for ADD. She went through a period of suicidal thoughts but that seems to have stopped. I never knew she was struggling because she was never hyper like my boys. My fiancé works out of town and is gone for 5-10 days at a time and it’s usually just me and my daughter home, as my youngest is with his dad most of the school week. As I’ve gotten older my anxiety is making me crazy and it seems to be sound that gets to me. Last night is a perfect example. I picked up my fiancé’s two teenage boys, 15 and 13 after work and headed home. I came home to find that my 15yo did not take his Concerta so he was bouncing off the walls, TV blaring, every light on, messes everywhere, etc. So I come in and I’m frustrated as soon as I walk in the house. My son then begins interacting with my fiancé’s kids and he is out of control running, talking and aggravating. Within minutes I am nauseous, feel like screaming, want to go hide,want to yell or throw something. My fiancé comes home and all the kids are hugging him, trying to talk to at once, dogs are jumping all over and I’m seriously feeling like I have no control. After several hours I have lost my patience with my son multiple times and made comments about being able to tell he isn’t medicated. So today as I read my daily emails from this site I see how many things I do wrong by my kids because of my own ADHD and anxiety. I have gotten to a point that I come home and just want to watch tv and be alone. I don’t cook because no one is ever really home and if they are, my son isn’t hungry because of his meds or it’s not what my daughter is currently in the mood to eat so I gave up. I feel like I’m failing everyone and my two kids still at home are about to be adults. My daughter hates life and is wanting to do online school that I know she will regret. They both have messy rooms and I’ve just gotten to a point where I don’t care to have that fight anymore. Me on the other hand, I’m OCD and obsessive about my surroundings at home and work and can’t stand disorder in my bubble. I don’t know where to start to help myself in order to help my kids. Please help me.
December 3, 2017 at 11:50 pm #69594
Hi momof3! I am also a mom of 3 and I have ADHD and anxiety. I know exactly what you are going through. As I was reading your post, it was like I have been there before!! The frustration with messy rooms (that I am still struggling with my youngest daughter) and the giving up cooking because it was never what they wanted or liked is my life! None of my girls have been diagnosed with ADHD, but my oldest and youngest have the signs. My oldest had the messiest room I have ever witnessed in my entire life and my youngest daughter just doesn’t know how to clean up or organize anything. She doesn’t like homework and puts it off until right before bed or doesn’t do it at all. Her grades are fine at the moment but I need to figure out a routine so that her grades don’t go down. Thankfully she made the basketball team at school so it keeps her busy everyday and gives her some structure in her life. I wish I had some advice for you but all I can think of is to practice mindfulness. In my summer capstone course for my degree in psychology, we had to research mindfulness and appreciative inquiry. Living in the present moment teaches you to be positive and calm in every moment, no matter what is going on around you. Changing your thinking from negative to positive, although it is very difficult at first, will help bring down your anxiety levels. Since I’ve been done the class though, it hasn’t been so easy, but I have the books and they help me get back on track. If you want the names of the books I will gladly share them with you. Let me know and good luck with everything!
December 4, 2017 at 12:11 am #69596
Thank you so much for sharing. I’m glad I’m not the only who knows what this feels like and that others can relate. I try to read a lot of things to better understand what they’re going through and to fix the things I’ve been doing wrong. I am trying to be everything they need but it can be hard. My youngest is the most difficult to help. His dad and I divorced when he was four. His dad is an RN, and his wife is a Nurse Practitioner and they think they know more than myself. We had a custody fight and we settled and agreed he will be with his dad most of the school week because he thought they could do better. He is actually doing worse with grades and his behavior as well. He’s a good kid but he clearly isn’t happy. His dad says everyone has ADD and makes the typical comments about trying harder, when you’re 21 and have nowhere to go don’t come to me. All the things that he shouldn’t be saying. It’s truly heartbreaking. I would love to learn to live in the moment and not stress the days I haven’t yet faced. I would also be excited to get the names of the books you recommend. Thank you AGAIN.
December 4, 2017 at 8:59 am #69609
There’s a certain mindset that is crucial to being an effective parent for kids with ADHD, and Jen described it well — positive, mindful, accepting imperfection, and letting go some. It’s a process and a lot of work to get there, but you certainly can.
Also, taking time to ensure your own wellbeing is not selfish, and it’s certainly not bad parenting. In fact, it makes you a better parent. I promise.
No one is perfect. Perfection doesn’t exist. Instead, make a list of what is truly important in your parenting, accept that you cannot “fix” everything, and move forward one day at a time. Prioritize what’s really important, and let everything else go… at least for a little while until the important things are more stable.
Here’s some great advice for parents with ADHD, raising kids with ADHD:
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
December 4, 2017 at 11:18 am #69613
I am a very scheduled person. I like my routine, I like my quiet. My eldest son and I could be perfectly content going on a car ride in silence. In the early days of bringing together our blended family – combining all the different personalities types caused me a lot of anxiety and made me feel like a failure a lot of the time. All the kids weren’t happy, or dinner wasn’t to everyone’s liking, or the house was a mess, etc.
During one shopping trip, I happened upon a little sign that said “You may call it chaos, I call it Family”. I bought it, and hung it in the house. Find your perfection in the imperfection. There is no shame in going to a quiet space if things are too chaotic for you (I did that just the other night). There’s no shame in a home cooked meal NOT being on the table every night (my “home cooked meal” last night was sandwiches, fruit and chips). Close the door if the messy room bothers you.
What you were describing about walking in the door and immediately feeling overwhelmed, we feel a lot of the time too. We started a “give me 10” rule. If an adult says “give me 10”, it’s a cue to the kids to leave them alone. The adult goes to their room and shuts the door and the kids leave them alone. Gives the adult some decompression time.
December 5, 2017 at 9:26 pm #69748
Thank you all so much for the pep talk and making me feel like I wasn’t alone and crazy. It’s hard work being a parent and having a child with ADHD makes some days a bit harder. To see our children happy is all that matters and I just have to remember on the challenging days that one day it will miss all of this.
Today was a hard, yet good day. I became a single mom shortly after his 4th birthday. His dad was “involved” but not anywhere close to what he should have been. I have been dealing with ADHD and epilepsy pretty much by myself for 10+ years. His dad has fought me on everything and refused ADHD testing, then meds, then 504, etc. He’s an RN and seems to think he knows more than Doctors. He did not attend Doctors appointments for the past 10 years or involve himself in schooling. Last year his new wife convinced him that my sons struggles in school were because of me. We were in a year long custody battle and I finally gave in and basically allowed him to have our son during most school days. I pushed for Special Ed testing just like I fought him on everything to ensure my son was taken care of. Today we met with the school and he qualified for an IEP. I am so ecstatic that he will have more help at school and that his stress will be lowered. I know these will be great changes for him and he will excel. The meeting was hard because I was made to feel like an outsider because for the first time in 11 years I am not managing all his schooling. But, I kept reminding myself that he wouldn’t have this chance to succeed and find his self confidence if I didn’t stand up to his dad and keep fighting for what I know is best for my son.
Days like today make me realize that I’ve done great things for him. They can take credit for any improvements seen but my son and I both know who has advocated for him. My heart is breaking because he’s not here everyday and that I was made to feel like an outsider. However, I know the mother I’ve been and I am proud of myself for carrying the load I have for 11 years. While it was a tough day this IEP and the changes coming is what I needed to make me realize that I’m not so bad after all. Thank you all for keeping my spirits up while beating myself up and waiting for this meeting. I love this site and the incredible articles, advice, etc.
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